31.03.2005 Regional News

Poor people prefer immediate daily benefits from activities - Research

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Accra, March 31, GNA - Research findings have revealed that many poor people within the peri-urban areas preferred activities that yielded immediate daily benefits than long-term activities. The research, which focused on four districts, namely Bosomtwe-Kwanwoma, Kwabre, Ejusu and Juabeng and 12 communities within the Kumasi Peri-Urban Interface (KPUI) identified the aged, women, single parents, the unemployed, food crops farmers and school dropouts as the most vulnerable groups in these areas.

Presenting the key findings of the Research, dubbed "Boafo Ye Na Project", at a day's workshop, Mr Korsi Ashong, Programme Manager for the Centre for the Development of the People (CEDEP), a nongovernmental organization (NGO), said the research was based on the livelihood of people in the Peri-Urban areas and the level of poverty.

Mr Ashong said most of the people in Peri-Urban areas had the rural attitude of acquiring more property on a daily basis without thinking about saving some for the future.

He said many people living in these areas were also living below the poverty line but it was unfortunate that the activities of these people were not recognized. "Rather we tend to concentrate on people living in the rural and urban areas."

Mr Ashong said despite the numerous attempts by the Government and civil society organizations to control various degrees of urban sprawl and related natural resource management problems very little appeared to have been achieved.

He said it was unfortunate that knowledge about the underlying dynamics of change in the Peri-Urban interface had not been documented to influence policy.

Mr Ashong noted that as the setting became more complex, the Peri-Urban changes tended to include or exclude the poor and the vulnerable in natural resources management decisions and practices. He said access to farmland and capital to intensify production by food crop farmers in the Peri-Urban areas was limited and constrained by limited access to market information that could enable them to have higher prices for their crops and producing to meet demands of the market.

The research recommended that the production chain for any livelihood activity for the poor should be broken down into stages with each stage serving as a separate income generating activity that fitted into other aspects in the chain.

It suggested that any new livelihood activity for the poor in the Peri-Urban areas should be acceptable to them and made to fit their environment and local resources. It should also be guided by regular technical support and then closely monitored.

It called for financial assistance for these people saying they should be encouraged since this helped to sustain their livelihood. Mr Charles Sakyi, Executive Director of CEDEP, said the overall picture of the diversity of socio-economic conditions and the disparities in the incidence of poverty in the country suggested that there could be no excuse for complacency in tackling poverty.

"Even though we have pockets of high urban poverty, there is incidence of extreme poverty in the Peri-Urban areas."

Mr Sakyi said reasons were available to suggest that poverty was primarily an agricultural phenomenon and largely in the informal sector. He said poverty in the Peri-Urban areas required actions that were directly focused on the fundamental causes of poverty and inequitable distribution of the benefits of society.

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